AP NEWS

Louisiana Senate race could involve rare three-person runoff

October 14, 2019

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana state Senate race could be headed to a rare, three-person runoff election because two Republican contenders tied for second place, the secretary of state’s office said Monday.

State Reps. Steve Carter and Franklin Foil, among five candidates for the Baton Rouge-based Senate seat, each received 12,522 votes in Saturday’s primary election, according to secretary of state’s office spokesman Tyler Brey.

That would push both Republicans into the Nov. 16 runoff against Democrat Beverly Brooks Thompson.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said Louisiana has had 10 other three-person runoffs since 1987 for police jury, school board and police chief seats, among other positions. Another three-person runoff in November is expected for a police juror position in Tensas Parish.

“Normally, it happens with more local races, not quite as high-profile” as a state Senate seat, Ardoin said.

Initially, secretary of state’s office results showed Foil edging into second place by eight votes, but Brey said there were problems scanning mail-in absentee ballots. When parish election workers rescanned the ballots, they found that Foil and Carter had tied instead.

Candidates have until Wednesday afternoon to request a recount of the absentee paper ballots, and Ardoin said Foil has indicated he will seek that review. A recount, if requested, will be done by hand at the parish registrar of voters’ office Thursday morning.

“Frankly, if it stayed the eight-vote difference, I would have expected a recount anyway,” Ardoin said.

Next month’s runoff will fill a seat being vacated by term-limited Republican Dan Claitor.

The Baton Rouge-based race appears to be the only remaining Senate seat that isn’t already captured by a specific party. Five other seats with runoff elections each involve two candidates from the same party.

In Saturday’s primary election, Republicans looked likely to have captured two Senate seats that had been held by Democrats, ensuring the GOP will have a veto-proof, 26 member majority in the chamber next term.

Republican Heather Cloud of Turkey Creek won a three-person race to take a vacant central Louisiana-based seat that’s been held by a term-limited Democrat.

Unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office also indicate that Republican Barry Milligan of Shreveport defeated Democratic incumbent John Milkovich of Keithville for a northwest Louisiana-based Senate seat. The Associated Press hasn’t called the race for Milligan yet.

Parish-by-parish election results will be certified Friday.

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